Professor Gary Banks commenced as dean and CEO of the Australia and New Zealand School of Government in January 2013 following a long and successful leadership record at the Productivity Commission, which has become Australia’s most respected independent source of policy research and advice to government. He is also currently the chairman of the OECD’s Regulatory Policy Committee, an independent director of Macquarie Group and a member of the Prime Minister’s Advisory Council.
Banks was chairman of the Productivity Commission from its inception in 1998. In addition to overseeing the commission’s development and activities, he personally headed national inquiries on a variety of significant public policy and regulatory topics. These included research and development, infrastructure regulation, greenhouse policy, private health insurance, gambling policy, housing affordability, availability of finance, the National Competition Policy, executive remuneration, import safeguards and trans-Tasman economic relations.
For many years, Banks chaired the COAG Steering Committee for the Review of Government Services and was the initial convenor for the review’s Working Group on Indigenous Disadvantage. For several years, he oversaw the Commonwealth’s regulation-making processes through the Office of Regulation Review, and in 2007 established its successor body, the Office of Best Practice Regulation.
In earlier years, Banks worked at the Centre for International Economics, Canberra, and has been a consultant to the OECD, World Bank and the World Trade Organisation. He was previously a senior economist with the GATT Secretariat in Geneva, and visiting fellow at the Trade Policy Research Centre, London. He holds degrees in economics from Monash University and the Australian National University.
Banks was made a fellow of the Institute of Public Administration Australia in 2001 and a national fellow in 2008. He was elected to the Australian National University Economics Department’s “Hall of Fame” in 2002 and received the Chancellor’s Medal in 2004. In 2010 he was elected fellow of the Academy of Social Sciences in Australia. He was also awarded an inaugural Monash University fellowship. In 2013 he was made an Alan McGregor Fellow of the Centre for Independent Studies.
In 2012, his last year at the Productivity Commission, he was included by The Australian Financial Review as one of 25 “true leaders” and in The Australian newspaper’s top 50 politically influential Australians. Banks received the Centenary Medal in 2003 and, in 2007, was made an Officer of the Order of Australia for “services to the development of public policy in microeconomic reform and regulation”.